Will tonight be the end of Studio 60?
I almost didn't write this, because I'm really just inviting every person who hates me or hates Studio 60 (or the many people who seem to have a part-time job hating me and Studio 60) to just jump into the comments section and tell me why the show was bad and why I'm a terrible, terrible human being for even liking it. But then I decided, what the hell. In fact, let me help you with your comments. Cut and paste as you desire:
1. No one cares about what's going on behind the scenes of a late night comedy show
2. Sarah Paulson isn't funny.
3. The show isn't funny.
4. Sorkin is too preachy!
5. There's no chemistry between Paulson and Perry, and they focus on the Matt/Harriet plot too much.
6. Amanda Peet isn't believable/too young/too pretty to be a network exec.
7. You suck Sassone!
Tonight's episode, "Miracle at 4am," might just be the last episode of the show. Sure, NBC might show whatever episodes are still in the can at a later date, but even that's questionable. For now, the new drama The Black Donnellys takes over the time slot.
I gotta tell you, I still like this show. And I like it not because of some misguided Aaron Sorkin worship, I like it because of the awesome potential it has. Does the show have problems? You bet it does. It's not quite as sharp now as some of the early episodes were, they got away from the clever plots and dialogue about the TV industry and tried to turn it into a romantic comedy, and yes they do focus on the Matt/Harriet plot too much. Still, this is a Must-See show for me. I like Amanda Peet in her role. I do find Sarah Paulson believable. Perry and Whitford have great chemistry together (and what a revelation that even though they spent several years in their Friends and West Wing roles, you don't think of that when you watch them), and Steven Weber is fantastic.
But one of the reasons I'm also sorry to see it go is that there's nothing else like it on television right now. Love it, hate it, shrug it off, this is a grown up, classy, old-fashioned piece of entertainment, with a great cast and (I think) a great setting. It's the type of show you want to see get better and succeed. A show that wasn't a reality show, a CSI/Law and Order spinoff, or a show where people solve crimes with the help of the dead. And if you're the type of viewer who bizarrely "wants" to see this show fail instead of becoming better, well, there's no hope for you.
It's too bad that nowadays shows are not given more time to grow. The Dick Van Dyke Show, Seinfeld, and Cheers were almost canceled their first seasons too, but were given time to grow. I still don't know why NBC execs didn't at least try moving Studio 60 to a different day and time. With all the money they've spent on the show you'd think that people over at NBC would insist on trying it some other day. I know it's hard to find a time slot when you have Deal Or No Deal on 35 times a week. Eh, whatever.
This is an interesting case study though in how the public perceives TV now. Everyone has an opinion about what's wrong with a TV show, how it could be better, how it SUX, as you AOL-ers would say. A lot of you used to get on my case for my overly positive reviews of the show (back when I reviewed the show). I didn't praise the show because I had stock in NBC or was friends with a cast member or I had terrible taste. I believe in not getting on the case of someone who is trying to do something creative, whether it's TV, film, music, painting or anything else. Of course there were things wrong with the show. There are things wrong with every show. But it's ridiculous to dissect every single aspect of every single episode of a show. What's the point? You take it as a whole, realize that there will be good and bad episodes, and continue to watch it and hope the bad things get better and the good things stay the same. But today we can't do that. In this fast paced, media-saturated world where even the most casual TV fan knows what the ratings for Lost were 12 hours ago and where every local TV station tells us how the new movies did at the weekend box office before the weekend is even over, that's impossible. With rare exceptions, if a show isn't a big hit right away, then it's shelved, put on "hiatus," or even canceled, never to be seen again.
I guess we can start all of the "if only HBO (or FX or Showtime or whoever) would pick it up!" wishing we had with Arrested Development. But fans shouldn't hold their breath for that. Maybe the remaining episodes will be shown on NBC.com or Bravo, or maybe the season will be released on DVD, with unaired eps and extras.
Whatever happens to the remaining episodes, I have this strange feeling that if The Black Donnellys also fails, we'll see yet another new reality show on NBC. Maybe All You Need Is Love. And Jordan McDeere's nemesis Hallie will get the last laugh after all.